Ernie loves Jacques Pepin.

Loves him.

LOVES him.

If I had unlimited funds I would find some way to give some charity enough money for Jacques Pepin to let Ernie visit him for the afternoon and drink wine while Jacques cooked. WATCHING a Jacques Pepin cooking show with Ernie is one of the most pleasurable things in this world. Ernie just sits there with this smirk/half smile on his phase and talks back to Jacques in a french accent. Drink a glass of wine during this all and well….I just can't explain it any further….

The other day we watched a show from several years ago when we couldn't find anything to watch and had a half hour to kill. It looks SO damn good that the next day Ernie brought home a whole chicken so we could make it. Ernie, Owen and I ALL declared it one of the best chickens we have ever made. And I gotta tell you…I'm pretty proud of my roast chicken….but this was RIDICULOUSLY good!


Recipe: Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust

Simple Sweet Notes (204): Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way

I often make this recipe at home when I am in a hurry, because splitting and flattening the chicken and cutting between the joints of the leg and the shoulder reduce the cooking time by half. I use kitchen shears to split the chicken open at the back and to cut the cooked bird into serving pieces and a knife to cut between the joints.

The mustard crust can be made ahead and even spread on the chicken a day ahead, if you like. I pour the cooked chicken juices into a fat separator with a spout and serve over Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, leaving the fat behind.

Mustard Crust

  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

For the crust: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone of the chicken to split it open. Spread and press on the chicken with your hands to flatten it. Using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway through both sides of the joints connecting the thighs and drumsticks and cut through the joints of the shoulder under the wings as well. (This will help the heat penetrate these joints and accelerate the cooking process.)

Put the chicken skin side down on a cutting board and spread it with about half the mustard mixture. Place the chicken flat in a large skillet, mustard side down. Spread the remaining mustard on the skin side of the chicken. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, then place the skillet in the oven and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. It should be well browned and dark on top.

Let the chicken rest in the skillet at room temperature for a few minutes, then cut it into 8 pieces with clean kitchen shears. Defat the cooking juices. If you like, mound some Fluffy Mashed Potatoes on each of four warm dinner plates and place 2 pieces of chicken on each plate. Pour some juice on the mashed potatoes and chicken and serve.

Mind you we didn't have herbes de provence so we just used thyme and rosemary…still fantastic. We had it with a green salad with tomatoes and some corn. As much as I'm on a vegetable kick however….the chicken was well….everything Jacques promised it would be….



our leftovers….not much….